2016 Racing preparations!

Well, the 2016 racing season is fast approaching. Interlaced with the work on the basement I detailed in my last entry were preparations for this year’s autocross season.

The Buick was re-classed into CAM-T for 2016, which moves me away from modern supercars like the Camaro SS/Z28 and the 2015+ Mustangs and toward old buckets turned into supercars, like Mary Pozzi’s amazing Camaro.

Mary Pozzi’s split bumper Camaro at the 2015 CAM Challenge East in Peru, Indiana

That staring me in the face, the car was definitely in need of some improvements. It had issues with tire scrubbing at high steering angles, which caused some horrible understeer, and the transmission needed some reinforcement. I also found a cracked brake rotor.

My first Christmas present to myself was a set of SpeedTech front control arms. These replaced my ghetto-fab combination of SPC adjustable upper arms an truck ball joints. I’d always had concerns about the ball joints breaking on me. The tuck balljoints didn’t quite fit the taper of the spindle. The arms also ended up being

New SpeedTech control arms and a home built bumpsteer compensation kit

asymmetric, which caused the car to dive to the left under hard braking and turn-in was inconsistent. I also combined the arms with lower ball joints that are 1″ taller than stock. This keeps the higher effective spindle height and the improved camber curve I got with my old truck ball joint, lowered the front of the car an inch, and the arms allowed nearly an additional degree of caster along with nearly one degree of negative static camber. Using a taller lower ball joint required some bumpsteer correction. Kits to do it cost $150 from places like RideTech, but I managed to piece it together using parts from Speedway Motors for about 2/3 of the RideTech price.

The ride of the car with the new arms is much better than it was on the old setup, I’m anxious to see if they actually improve things.

A power steering cooler has been added, sandwiched in between the A/C condenser and the radiator. That operation resulted in a broken reservoir nipple, so I had to replace the reservoir. I also adjusted the lash on the steering box hoping to tighten up the steering.

A cracked brake rotor has been replaced and front bearings have been re-packed with fresh grease.

Cracked brake rotor. Eeek!

Lastly, a CK Performance shift kit went into the transmission. This kit reprograms the valvebody and eliminates the 1-2 and 3-4 accumulators to firm up the shifts and improve kickdown. This kit came highly recommended by the Boost Crew Motorsports.

All the fluids have been replaced. New Royal Purple 10w30 in the crankcase, Valvoline synthetic in the transmission, Amsoil in the rear end, and Wilwood Racing fluid in the brake system.

The one major modification that’s missing? Tires. I’m holding off on those until the “go-to” tire for 2016 is identified. That may not happen until May. The new arms also give me enough clearance in the front of the car to run 275mm tires, but those sizes would require new wheels. We shall see how that pans out over the course of the season.

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